The Little White Dog Learns to Swim!

A number of summers ago, my siblings and I, along with my sister-in-law and a family friend, all got together and went to Strawberry Lake, in Utah, to spend the weekend on my brother’s boat and do some fishing and other fun “boating activities”.

My sister, Carmella, had a little, white Maltese at the time, called “Shelby Marina”.

Carmie would disagree with this characterization, but Shelby was quite the “pampered Princess”- owned her own baby carriage for taking “dog walks”, and sported a SF forty-niner jacket with matching booties, for when the cold and snow of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah became insufferable; and like most overindulged, mollycoddled Malteses, enjoyed all the luxuries of a spoiled, only child.

Wherever Carmie went, Shelby went.

And if Shelby couldn’t go, Carmie didn’t go.

It was a simple fact. And we all knew it.

So, we all agreed to “take one for the team” and let the little yapper spend the weekend with all of us on the boat, so that we could all “be together”, as a family.


That was the plan, anyway.

And everything was going along just swimmingly.

We were docked at the harbor, and the youngest brother and our family friend, Jimmy John (alias J.J.), were intently focused on their fishing.

I was in the boat’s galley, starting to prep for dinner, when Carmie yelled, from the upper deck, (to no one in particular), that she was headed to the wharf’s store with my older brother, Anthony, and his wife, Lucy, and for us to watch Shelby Marina for her until she returned.

Not familiar with my brother’s new boat, and intently trying to understand the mechanics of the oven, I dispassionately mumbled something to the effect of, “Sure. No problem. Go on. I’ll watch her.”

I sincerely thought that Shelby would be fine.

“She was wearing a little doggie life vest, and if push came to shove, she could always DOG PADDLE, if she fell in,” I casually reasoned to myself.

“She’s a dog, for Chriminy sakes!”

After fiddling with the galley’s stove for 10 or so minutes, I vaguely heard J.J.quietly say something from the back of the boat about some “white dog swimming for her life”.

I was totally distracted and intent on prepping for dinner and not quite putting two and two together, yet, when I heard J.J. calmly, but sternly, shouting, “If anybody cares, the white dog just went under for the second time and is headed for the underbelly of the neighbor’s boat!”


By this time, I’m acutely aware of the fact that it’s eerily quiet, and that I haven’t heard a whimper (let alone a yelp!) from little Shelby since my sister left.

As I was anxiously stumbling up the galley’s stairwell, on my old (and oh-so delicate) shins, to check on my sister’s little Princess, I heard J.J. emphatically yell, “The little white dog’s mastery of the dog paddle, ain’t lookin’ so good, and if somebody doesn’t get up here, soon, and fish her out of the water, she’s a goner!”

By this time, it dawned on me that the “white dog” was Carmie’s precious little Shelby Marina, and I started yelling, “Cazzo! Ya wanna throw her a life preserver or something, before we lose her for good?!”

“If anything happens to this dog, we’re all as good as dead,” I nervously continued shouting, as J.J. slowly and calmly grabbed his large fishing net and scooped up the frightened, shivering, little Shelby, from what was soon to have been, a burial at sea, for the little bugger.

“Cavola!” I say, while glaring at J.J. and my younger brother.

“What’s the matter with you two stoonods (idiots)?!”

“This dog could have drowned, for Chriminy sakes,” I angrily continued, while eye-balling the two of them.

“And then what, pray tell, would we have told our sister?”

At that point, J.J. looked at me with that boyish, impish grin of his and calmly responded, “Oh for Pete’s sake, the dog had on a life preserver and I made sure she came up after she went down the second time, didn’t I? You didn’t think I was gonna let her drown, did you? I just needed to reel in my fish, first.”

“You gotta relax, Lucie,” he casually continued. “You get your knickers into a knot too easily, Woman!”



That’s me: old, knotted-up, knickers Lucie.

One of these days, I’m gonna slap these here boys upside their pea-sized heads, and then we’ll see whose “knickers are in a knot”.

Have a great day, People, and don’t be getting “your knickers into a knot” over the small stuff!

I’ll catch ya next time, looking at life from my shoes!